06/27/2012

Calif. dept. is first to let citizens video chat officers

Residents in Redwood City can ask police questions face-to-face using their computers

By PoliceOne Staff

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The Redwood City Police Department has become the first agency in the country to let citizens talk to police via video chat.

“People are always on the go, so now they can plug into a computer and get that face-to-face interaction without stopping by the station,” Police Chief JR Gamez said.

The framework comes from Denmark-based company Netop, who offered the agency a subscription to their Live Guide communication technology at a discounted rate of $91 per month.

Since its launch Monday through the department website, a dozen citizens have already called in to report car burglaries and express excitement about video chatting with police, Redwood City Patch reported

The officers who chat with citizens all have injuries that keep them from foot patrol. Gamez hopes to minimize calls for service and free up more officers to target distressed neighborhoods.

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